March 8, 2011
FDA Advises Against It
The latest fad in the battle against fat is the pregnancy hormone, hCG, in combination with a 500 calorie a day diet. hCG, which is derived from the urine of pregnant women, needs to be injected daily. Patients pay about $1000/month for a doctor’s consultation, syringes and a supply of the hormone, which promises that they’ll increase muscle mass and metabolize fat in hard-to-lose places like upper arms, abdomen and thighs without feeling hungry. While hCG, which is used to treat fertility, is legal for “off-label” use, the FDA warns that it does not effect weight loss and may cause depression, headaches and blood clots. hCG was first touted as a weight loss drug in the 1950s. In 2009, baseball star Manny Ramirez was suspended for using Major League Baseball-banned hCG.
Share Your Breakfast
Today, March 8, is National Breakfast Day, and there are a couple of ways you can celebrate besides having a healthy breakfast. Kellogg teamed up with the nonprofit Action for Healthy Kids with the hearty goal of donating a million breakfasts to underserved kids during the 2011-2012 school year. Through July, upload your breakfast photo at shareyourbreakfast.com or text a photo or a description of your breakfast with the word “share” to 21534, and Kellogg Company will donate a breakfast to a child in need. If you're on Twitter today, use the hashtag #ShareUrBreakfast to make a donation happen. New York Times reports that Doug VanDeVelde of the Kellogg Company said that the Share Your Breakfast campaign is the breakfast giant's "largest integrated marketing effort."
Cleaning Coal-Fired Power Plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is facing a deadline of March 16 to propose cleanup for toxic pollution from coal-fired power plants. According to the American Lung Association, coal-burning power plants must be cleaned up urgently to protect public health. Those most in danger are the young from infants through teenagers, seniors, pregnant women, and those with asthma, lung diseases, heart disease and diabetes. In their report, "Toxic Air: The Case for Cleaning Up Coal-fired Power Plants," the group describes the mix of toxic air pollutants that come from the plants. In the Toxic Air report, the American Lung Association also details the technologies available to cut emissions from coal-burning plants. They're urging citizens to demand action from President Obama.
Dead Fish Surfacing
"Two weeks ago out here in Huntington Beach, we had hundreds of purple starfish and mussels washed ashore at 17th Street and PCH. [...] Times are feeling strange."
- Joyce Silvestre in the comments
It could soon be a smelly situation in California if millions of dead anchovies are allowed to hang out on Redondo Beach. CNN reports that millions of anchovies, "enough to top much of the world's pizza," are covering the bottom of the sea in the harbor. The dead fish, measuring around 6 inches each, started rising to the surface this morning, reported the Daily Breeze in Torrance, Calif. The paper says that Sgt. Phil Keenan of the Redondo Beach Police commented that the anchovies could "create a terrible pollution and public health issue" if allowed to linger. The reason for the mass death of anchovies has not yet been determined, but officials think that the fish died from oxygen deprivation. The paper reported that there were no red tides present that may have contributed to the deaths.
Another Top Health Honor
The southeastern U.S. has another unhealthy title: "diabetes belt," reveals new research from the CDC. Already known as the "stroke belt," the Southeast is now marked as the area with the greatest need for control and prevention of diabetes. MSNBC reports that the CDC used county-by-county data to identify areas of people most at risk for diabetes. The CDC says that parts of the following states show a clear trend of high diabetes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, plus all of Mississippi. Almost 12 percent of people in the diabetes belt had diabetes, compared with 8.5 percent of the rest of the U.S. The research was published in American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Chocolate Fix May Hurt
The former president of the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, has refused to step down, and the U.S. may feel the impact in the form of higher prices for chocolate, reports CBS News. While the Middle East has dominated news coverage, the bloody Ivory Coast conflict that could turn to civil war may soon garner more attention. The Ivory Coast produces 40 percent of the world's cocoa, but the international community has banned their product. Since cocoa is the main ingredient used to make chocolate, the world can't be sure how much prices will rise until the conflict is settled.
Mysterious Empty Shelves
Some consumers are upset over Johnson & Johnson Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals' lack of clear communication about the disappearance of Pepcid Complete, reports Los Angeles Times. The product has been difficult to find since last fall, and the company's website directs visitors looking for it to Pepcid AC. Some frustrated sufferers of heartburn have turned to buying Pepcid Complete on eBay. A spokeswoman for the product told Los Angeles Times that they're evaluating "processes and making improvements at all the plants" that make OTC products. As a result of the evaluations, products like Pepcid Complete may "occasionally become temporarily unavailable." The company has said that the disappearance isn't connected with any recalls, and the product should be available this month.
Lower Blood Sugar Rate
The Mediterranean diet can have positive global effects on individual risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, find researchers. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed that the Mediterranean diet can help turn around high blood pressure, high blood sugar rate, low HDL "good" cholesterol and high triglycerides. The diet may also lower unhealthy waist size, over 35 for women and 40 for men. Researchers evaluated the diet's effect on metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease. They found that the diet also reduces the individual risk factors, such as low HDL. The research involved more than half a million people from 50 previous studies conducted on the Mediterranean diet in several countries, including the U.S.
Stick It to Menopause
Fifty-three postmenopausal women were split into two groups, one receiving traditional acupuncture and the other group got sham treatments for 10 weeks. Those who received acupuncture experienced less severe hot flashes and mood swings compared to women who got the sham treatment but did not decrease the rates of other problems. The acupuncture was independent of the changes in hormone levels that lead to menopause and the symptoms women experience. Researchers believe that acupuncture should be offered to women who are unable or unwilling to use hormone replacement therapy. The complete study can be found online at Acupuncture in Medicine.
Repaired Urethra Works Long Term
By taking a small piece of bladder tissue and creating tube-like structures with the cells from boys aged 10 to 14 with a rare urethral injury so bad that they could not urinate without a catheter, researchers were able to repair the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body via the genitals. Groin injuries from car accidents and falls usually cause this type of injury. Normally doctors use skin to make the repair but it is usually unsuccessful. The boys who received this new treatment have done well for six years but it is unknown if it will work in adults. It is still very difficult to engineer body parts from cells but researchers are happy with the outcomes and say the study shows that "tissues can be engineered using the patients' own cells, and they last long term."
Researchers who studied taste cells found a receptor called T1r2+T1r3 a viewed it as the primary sweet detector. It could detect both natural and artificial sugars but they did not think it accounted for detecting all sweets. So they took another look at taste cells in the intestine and pancreas and found that T1r2+T1r3 resided in the same taste cells with other unknown sugar sensors. SGLT1 triggers a sweet taste when a pinch of salt is ingested and KATP is believed to act in a manner that prevents us from consuming too much sweet food by inhibiting the sensitivity of the taste cells. Researchers have concluded that sweet taste cells are complex and believe the results of this study will help us to find techniques to help people stop overeating sweets.
Gambling on Sleep or Lack of It
Researchers at Duke University and in Singapore found that when people do not get enough sleep, they put more weight on the positive consequences of their actions as opposed to the negative ones, which can lead to decisions such as risky gambling. Twenty-nine people with an average age of 22 were asked to make several decisions that focused on economics after a night of normal sleep and then after a night where they did not get enough sleep. MRI scans actually showed that the part of the brain associated with processing positive outcomes was more active than the part involved in negative outcomes of those who were sleep deprived compared to those who got enough rest. The things we do to stay awake, such as drinking coffee or getting fresh air, do not help, according to the study.
A study of 1200 people with bowel or rectal cancer compared to 1200 healthy individuals showed that those with higher levels of HDL and one of its components, apoliprotein A (apoA) are at a decreased risk of developing bowel cancer but not rectal cancer. After other factors were taken into account, it was determined that an increase of 16.6 milligrams/deciliter (mg/dL) in HDL reduced the chance of bowel cancer by 22 percent and a 32 mg/dL increase in apoA lowered it by 18 percent. High HDL levels increase anti-inflammatory proteins while low HDL levels increase pro-inflammatory proteins which contribute to carcinogenesis by increasing cell growth and proliferation and inhibiting cell death. The link between HDL and the risk of bowel cancer was independent of other cancer-promoting factors.
Activates Body’s Immune System
Researchers in Israel have developed a vaccine that fights Alzheimer’s and stroke by activating the body’s macrophages which clean up the amyloid proteins that build up in the blood vessels of the brain. Given nasally, it is safe and works in animal models of vascular damage whose behavior went back to normal after being vaccinated. Damage that was already present was cleared by vaccination and it stopped more damage. Based on results in animals, researchers believe that human clinical trials could include people at risk for these diseases, those with early symptoms and those with vascular damage from a prior stroke and are hopeful this may lead to a cure for the vascular dementia that occurs in the majority of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s.
Yes to Exercise, No to Pot
A small study of 12 people who were considered “cannabis-dependent” and not interested in quitting cut down on smoking pot by 50 percent after using the treadmill for 30 minutes for two weeks. They were also shown pictures of marijuana before and after exercising and ranked their cravings on a scale and reported that their used drops from an average of 5.9 to 2.8 joints daily. The 50 percent reduction in use was observed half-way through the study. Researchers are very excited about this because there is no medical treatment for marijuana addiction. The findings need to be repeated on a larger scale but they have gotten a glimpse into how exercise may affect addiction. Abuse and complications linked to pot use has increased over the last ten years in people of all ages.
WAITING ROOMS SOON to BE EXTINCT
One Medical is pushing doctor's office waiting rooms to extinction with the One Medical virtual portal. The One Medical virtual portal is designed to streamline the health care system by letting patients do everything from check their medical records to scheduling same-day appointments. In addition to making administrative work easier, the One Medical virtual portal also gives patients access to their doctors for follow-ups and referrals. One Medical is also claiming longer appointments for those who schedule their appointments through the One Medical virtual portal. Five hospitals in San Francisco and two in New York have already signed up for the One Medical virtual portal, with a third New York hospital expected to sign-on shortly.
Most Recent 100 Items
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- Wine Has Benefits for Type-2 Diabetics (Only in Moderation, Mind You)
- Dabbing Pizza with Napkin Cuts Fat by 1/3 (40 Fewer Calories Per Slice)
- Tall People Run a Higher Cancer Risk (Grim News for the NBA)
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- Elliptical Machines Better Than Walking (For Burning Calories, Anyway)
- Long Work Hours Boost Stroke Risk (Over 55 Per Week, Look Out)
- Double Chins Now Removable by Injection (OK, Many Injections, but Still)
- Atkins Diet Can Raise Weight, Cut Lifespan (It’s the bane in Spain, anyway)
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- Autism Increase Called Mostly Illusory (More Problems Are Now "Autism")
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- Sleep-Deprived Teens Are Big Drinkers (More Bingeing & Drunk Driving)
- B-Vitamins Tied to Childhood Obesity (Low Levels Mean Extra Fat)
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- Hospitals: Bad Places for Heart Attacks (Try to Have Yours Elsewhere)
- Fattest US Jobs: Cop, Firefighter, Guard (Math & Science Gigs Leanest)
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- 80% of Sun-Protection Products Fail (So You Get Burned Twice)
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- Ominous Rise in White Collar Brain Doping (The Danger: Overconfidence)
- Treadmill-Caused Deaths Still Very Rare (Injuries Plentiful, However)
- “Healthy” Obesity Won’t Last for Most (1/3 Unhealthy After 5 Years)
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- The Paradox of Reusable Bag Shoppers (Buy Organic but Also Buy Junk)
- Navajo Nation First in US to Tax Junkfood (2% Levy on Chips, Sodas, Etc.)
- Problem Drinkers Vital to Booze Industry (Over 50% of (hic!) Total Sales)
- FDA Approves New Anti-Obesity Implant (Boosts Weight Loss by 8.5%)
- 78% Polled Favor Obligatory Vaccination (Think of It As Vax Populi)
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- When Facebook Makes You Sad (Envy Not)
- Study Says Pot Is the Safest Drug by Far (Booze Called 114 Times Worse)
- Just Imagining Exercise Boosts Muscles (Gotta Put Your Mind to It)
- U.S. Government’s Anti-Pot Stance to End? (Surgeon General Hints It's Over)
- Light to Moderate Jogging Is Healthiest (Strenuous Joggers Die Sooner)
- Risk of Dying While Driving Falls by 42% (Nine Models Boast Zero Deaths)
- High Cholesterol Endangers Young Too (Worry About Numbers at 35)
- Southern States Are a Hotbed of STDs (7 of the 8 Highest Rates)
- Binge Drinking Deaths Peak in Middle Age (College Kids Get a Bum Rap)
- Head Start Program May Curb Childhood Obesity (Obesity Prevention That Works)
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- UK Fans Upset over Cadbury Creme Egg Changes (US Eggs Safe from Change)
- Fast Food Linked to Poor Test Scores (Want Fries with That Dumburger?)
- Daily Cup of Blueberries Can Lower BP (Arterial Stiffness REduced Too)
- iPhone Separation is Bad for You (IPhone Close Keeps Anxiety Away)
- PTSD Linked to Greater Diabetes Risk in Women (Nearly Double the Risk)
- A Daily Avocado Lowers LDL Cholesterol (Look to the Hass)
- NIH Study Links Pesticides and Depression (Some Raise Risk by 90%)
- U.S. to Its Kids: Don’t Play Football (Spooked by Concussions, Etc.)
- Rx for Colds: Daily Sympathetic Hugs (Actually Eases Symptoms)
- New Spending Bill “Legalizes” Medical Pot (DEA Interference Now Outlawed)
- Advice to Seniors: Run, Don’t (Just) Walk (Health Benefits Boosted)
- CDC Mulling New Pro-Circumcision Stance (Focusing on Uncut Teenage Boys)
- Few Vegetarians Actually Stick with It (It Complicates Relationships)
- Flu Vaccine Won’t Offer Total Protection (One Targeted Strain Has Mutated)
- Hospital Patient Safety Much Improved (50,000 Lives Saved Since 2010)
- It's "Buyer Beware" for Store-Bought Pot (ThIs Is Not Your Father’s Weed)
- 70% of Those with HIV Go Untreated (In Most Cases, Knowingly)
- Secondhand Pot Smoke Bad for Blood Vessels (Majorly Massive Bummer, Dude)
- Record Low Number of U.S. Smokers (But 480,000 Per Year Still Die)
- Presidents Will Be Forgotten in 100 Years (President Who?)
- Four Ways to Improve Your Mood (Hint: Eating Doesn't Help)
- Trans Fat May Harm Memory (The More, the Worse)
- Double Mastectomy Rates Rise (For Cancer in One Breast)
- Medicare Weight-Loss Program Going Unused (Even Though It’s Free)
- FDA to Require Calorie Counts on Menus (Chain Restaurants Affected)
- Imagination, Reality Flow Oppositely in Brain (Scalp Sensors Tell All)
- Obesity a Huge Drag on World Economy (Costs It $2 Trillion. a Year.)
- Obesity Can Cause Silent Heart Damage (Troponin T Reveals Damage)
- Missing Work for Obesity Costs $8 Billion (Big Price Tag)
- Internet Use While Driving Is Soaring (Rate Has Doubled Since 2009)
- Democratic Republic of Congo Is Ebola-Free (Says WHO)
- Study Suggests Genetic Link for Homosexuality (“Giant Step Forward”)
- Soy Reduces Hot Flashes for Certain Women (Your Urine Tells)
- Herbs and Spices Reduce Triglyceride Levels (Reach for Rosemary and Oregano)
- Weight After Quitting Smoking Won't Kill You (Don't Sweat the Small Gain)
- Energy Drink ODs Hitting Kids Under Age 6 (Over 2,000 Reports Per Year)
- Women Exercise to Lose Weight but Gain It (Too Much "Reward” Eating?)
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- Ebola-Stricken Dr. Martin Salia Dies in U.S. (Arrived with Advanced Symptoms)
- Obese Americans Suffer More Chronic Pain (Over 25% Are Hurting)
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- Marriage Is Beneficial to Heart Health (Fewer Ills Than Singles, Exes)
- Kids Face Serious Risk from Laundry Pods (Big Risk from Small Pod)
- Woman Survives 45 Minutes with No Pulse (Dubbed "Miracle Woman")
- Kissing Bug Disease Found in U.S. (Could Be Deadly)
- Childhood Stress Linked to Adult Diseases (Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Cancer)
- Insomnia Is Problem in Addiction Recovery (High Rate of Insomnia Is Problem)
- School Lunches May Be Better Than Packed (Packed Lunches Exceeded Fat Rec)
- Warning for Young Kids Who Watch 3D Content (French Group Issues Warning)